Wed 6 Dec 2017

Training: the right way round

Training courses are often so ill-fitting that employers “reverse into them” in order to upskill their staff, says WITTCom’s new executive director.

Brian Souness says employers often select a course because it has some aspects which meet their needs – but know that it falls short of what they really want.

 “That’s what I mean about backing into courses – they find a course which partially meets their needs, rather than having someone come to them with a course which is designed for them and their people,” he says.

He says WITT’s new business focus through WITTCom comes with a clear vision to ensure the courses the Polytech provides are tailored to meet the needs of the business – not the other way around.

Brian started work at WITT at the beginning of November and says he’s excited by the potential for giving Taranaki businesses courses which dovetail with their needs.

“For example, we are looking at introducing a series of online business focused courses, short courses which will be completed in six weeks,” he says,

“It’s evident that there has been a gap between the academic side and business. My role is to bridge it and enable WITT to be more responsive to the needs of the Taranaki business community.”

He has spent the first three weeks in his new role discussing options with businesses through the province.

“Businesses are keen to support WITT, the challenge for us is to ensure we completely meet their needs. What we are seeing now is that some companies do not use their training budget because they can’t find the right courses.”

He says despite the fact that Oil and Gas remain in a trough, the outlook is bright for food and beverage, and that is an area where engineering jobs will be available.

“Engineering has been static for a while, but peaks and troughs are not uncommon. The food and beverage industry is thriving and so too will those industries which serve them. That is positive for engineering because it is an integral part of food production.”

Smart companies traditionally maintain their training programmes through slow times because they appreciate their long-term value, he said, but for small and medium businesses that can present challenges.

“Some are concerned at the cost, others that training staff too well will ultimately see them move to a bigger position. But the fact is if you fail to bring people up to speed you usually end up regretting it.

“The key is having the right strategy and the right course – and that’s where we can offer help and advice”.

He said businesses can also talk to WITTCom about their succession planning.

“It’s so often left too late, and again it is difficult for smaller organisations. I would just encourage people to come and talk to us about what we can do – because ultimately it will benefit them,” Brian added.

Picture: Brian Souness was pictured at Fonterra’s Whareroa factory discussing  WITT’s courses with Kelly Jones.

·         If you want to talk to Brian, call him on 027 437 2305.

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